Friday, August 8, 2014
A Reflection, A Reminder and A Recipe
"The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal."
This summer I’ve spent quite a few nights at the old family farm house. In the backyard, my Dad has been nursing two tomato plants. Even with all of his tender love and care, specifically spending his time to make sure he’d have bright, red and juicy tomatoes to put on the dinner table, the plant that’s producing the most fruit is the one left alone in a bucket by the window. All summer he’s left it untouched, thinking that by properly caring for the other two plants, it would mean they’d develop the most successful fruits. But all he needed to do for the other two was initially cultivate the seeds, give them a kiss of water, a hug of sunshine, pat the soil and whisper “You’re on your own now; learn how to grow strong stems and flavorful fruit. I will be here when you go through a storm or a drought, to help rebuild and replant; but for now, trust in your strength and the strength of your creator to meaningfully fulfill your purpose as a tomato plant.”
So what do tomato plants have to do with summer time besides how good they taste on a homemade pizza? Personal growth can’t be gained when someone does all of the work for you. To truly flourish, you need to let go of the nourishment from your parents and your other crutches in life; you must find what makes you buzz, come alive and continuously produce fruit even when you must go through those inevitable transitional periods of drought. The transition from childhood to adulthood isn’t easy, and the easiness of always running to your parents for money or asking them to make decisions for you will never allow you to develop your own unique fruit. Neither will staying indoors watching re-runs of Boy Meets World and Mythbusters allow you room to grow when you’re cut off from the sunlight begging you to explore outside and see how you can spread your fruit to others. Save those Netflix marathons for a stormy night after a long day of work.
Now that I’m back in a vulnerable state of transition again, the tomato plants left untouched in the bucket are a reminder of the gift my parents gave me: support, solitude, and space to grow. It’s when we leave old areas of comfort, enter the scariness of the world outside of the window and trust in the unknown that we’ll truly learn how to consistently produce fruits in the present and cultivate our own seeds in the future. To find your path which will lead you to produce healthy and hearty tomatoes, you must be willing to let go of what pulls you down and drags you back to unhealthy pasts and habits. Be still; be present. Water your soul; rest in the light.
Fresh Margherita Pizza
1 frozen pizza crust (recommend Augustine’s)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 bag shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
1/2 vidalia onion, sliced
10 leaves of fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic
salt & pepper to taste
Sprinkle the crust with part of the olive oil and top with the mozzarella. Evenly spread out the tomatoes, onions, basil and garlic on top of the mozzarella. Add the sprinkle cheese, salt and pepper to the pizza toppings and top off with the remaining olive oil.
Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Galatians 5: 22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”